Dipper helps kick stigma

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Jake Edwards and Robert DiPierdomenico
Camera IconJake Edwards and Robert DiPierdomenico Credit: Jessina Oakes/Outside the Locker Room/Jessina Oakes

A former AFL player kicking down the stigma around mental health will be joined by a cult figure of the game when he brings his Stigma Stops Here Tour to Karratha today.

Former Carlton Football Club player and Outside the Locker Room founder Jake Edwards is road-tripping around the State to raise awareness of mental health problems and approaches to dealing with these challenges.

Joining Mr Edwards on the trip is sports personality Robert “Dipper” DiPierdomenico, and they arrived in Karratha after driving through other regional towns, including Geraldton, Kalbarri, Exmouth, and Onslow.

Mr Edwards said the event would have a strong focus on connecting with local indigenous communities by integrating and implementing cultural education and understandings into his presentations.

During their visit, the pair will share personal stories and conduct activities to help encourage participants to talk about their struggles and learn how to support friends and family. The Stigma Stops Here Tour will also visit Wickham, holding an event with the Wickham Wolves Football Club.

Mr Edwards said the more athletes who came out and talked about their mental challenges, the more it rippled down.

Mr Edwards started Outside the Locker Room after going through his own battle with depression and anxiety during and after his football career.

“Despite what society thinks, the experience of being an aspiring athlete or being driven by the desire to achieve sporting success can be incredibly lonely, isolating and difficult to navigate emotionally, mentally and physically,” he said.“After I was delisted in 2009 at just 21 years of age, I lost a total sense of purpose.

“My identity was inextricably bound to my footy career, and when it was over, I tumbled into complete chaos, battling anxiety and depression, inevitably spiralling into substance abuse before trying to take my own life.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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